The ceiling was raining blood. Not metaphorical blood, and not literal blood, but something in between. I couldn't see it, but I could definitely feel something on the back of my neck. Maybe there was something wrong with the air conditioning, or maybe it was the blood of every wrong decision I'd ever made. Every wrong turn which had led me to being in this place right now, today, thinking these thoughts. It's a place of nightmares, and not one of those wipe away nightmares where your parents adopt every other person on the planet, and tell you you're no longer welcome in their home. A real nightmare. This is a place held together by science and magic. This place is Subway.

It's unlike any other Subway in the whole of England, maybe the entire franchise. It's a fast food outlet which only employs the most beautiful women known to man. How they do it? I do not know. It's like one of those tiny eastern European villages where nobody ever visits and the gene pool is so contained that they only produce beautiful people, but somehow a bad eye sight gene gets in through the tiniest crack and within a hundred years their vision is so poor that they don't even know how beautiful they are. I'm almost certain they don't breed the women on the premises, and I doubt that they only hire attractive people, because it's a dangerous tactic. It's a mystery. I will not crack it.

Now let me tell you about each of these women, so that you might learn of their ways. Hopefully my words will spare you becoming trapped in a life like mine. The woman at the start of the sandwich process is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. Her eyes are like diamonds coated in even nicer diamonds. You don't know anything about diamonds. You're not even sure what a karat is, but you heart tells you that she has lots of them, or not many at all, depending on whether lots of karats is good or bad. You must never look directly into them, only through a cardboard tube. When she asks you what kind of bread you want you can tell that she genuinely wants to know. Yes, it's her job, but even if you were both in a different situation, in a popular nightspot on a first date, she'd still ask the exact same question. From your choice of loaf she plunges her mind into your soul, and she likes what she finds. You love this woman more than you love any bread. You'll always pick Hearty Italian, because you think it sounds the most romantic. You are completely right.

Before your heart has a moment to regain it's normal beat, you're dragged by your guts along the rollercoaster. Suddenly you're gazing upon an altogether different beauty. She's the most incredible event you've ever had the privilege to witness. Her voice is so soft and thin that you're scared it's going to sink in through the pores of your skin, attaching itself to your white blood cells, destroying them instantly, leaving you wide open to a variety of viral attacks. But you don't care. You're convinced that you love this woman more than you've loved anyone. The Bread Girl's eyes might as well have been cubic zurconias for all you can remember. Her first question seems innocent enough. She asks what salad you want. Immediately and naturally you think she cares for you, cares for you so much that she wants you to eat healthy, get your 5-a-day and live longer, with her. Forever. You want to say "Everything, stick it all on there, baby." But doubt has crept in. Does she want you to eat your greens to live longer or does she want you to lose weight? You tell yourself you're just being paranoid, but you can't help shake the feeling that you're flawed in her eyes. Her last customer was in better shape than you. You miss the first woman. She'd never expressed concerns about your diet. She lived for carbs. You know that you love the salad woman more than anything, but you want the old days back. Things were so much more simple.

Out of nowhere she drops the bombshell - "Any sauces?". That dirty minx. She's an animal. Right here in front of everyone she's talking to you about sauces. Has she no shame? There's a wild side to her that you never expected, never thought possible. You want her squeezing chilli sauce all over your foot long until the bottle runs out. You feel the blood rushing from your head. You're dizzy and weak, but you finally feel like the man you thought your father was when you were a boy. You want to rip off your shirt and start peeling the skin off your arms right there in the queue. But when it comes time to answer her something's gone wrong. You've become the shyest man in Shanghai. You don't ask for a single sauce. You're still a boy.

Disorientated from what's just happened, still sporting an erection, you're moved along once more. You're looking down at the floor wishing you hadn't worn socks under your sandles, or at least had a matching pair. When you look up there's a woman standing there. At least you think it's a woman, she could very well be an angel. Her name tag says "Yes!" and the normally unflattering green Subway polo-shirt hangs off her like a red dress at a Hollywood premiere. Her hair rains down like honey coated silk. She smiles at you, and her teeth are so white, so straight, that you vomit a little bit. She loves it. She's the perfect woman. You've already started carving her name into your back with your car keys. She understands you better than anyone. You don't know what you've done to deserve her. Then she says it: "That'll be £3.19 please". Money, that's all she's ever been interested in. You feel used. Your appetite has vanished, despite the hollow feeling in yout stomach. As you fumble in your wallet, tears start to fall down your face. You hand her a £5 note, but you don't begrudge her it. What else could you possibly have to offer her? You were a fool for believing you could mean anything to anyone.

A moment or a lifetime later you're outside, alone on a park bench, in the twilight of your lunch break, wishing you'd gone to Mcdonalds. At least nobody ever falls in love in Mcdonalds. Opening your sandwich, the only souvenir of relationships lost, you cry out to the heavens. You asked for no olives.

Anson, Subway.

1 comment:

  1. ;__; a lament for love lost to franchise hell